Recognition of Excellence Awards 2022
Having had jobs working for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and as a carer, Mary Lowder didn’t always envision a career in pharmacy
But after giving birth to her son, she wanted a job locally and a pharmacy assistant position in Day Lewis Pharmacy, Wiveliscombe – right on her doorstep – seemed perfect.
“I love my job. I love to help people,” she says. “I live near lots of my customers so on my way to work, quite often, they’ll shout out their windows ‘Mary can you bring me back my prescription today?’ and I always yell back ‘of course!’ It’s really lovely actually. I think the community is able to talk to us on a different level. There’s more trust between us, we’re not just over the counter anymore, we look beyond that.”
Wiveliscombe is a notably quite a rural area with people from all different walks of life that Mary interacts with on a daily basis. “There are a lot of really rural farmers and farming families who don’t take as much care of their health,” explains Mary. “We always offer them the opportunity of coming in for a health check. Some of them don’t really grasp the concept, but people do listen especially if they have to make pretty rapid changes. I always try and give any health feedback I have to them straight away as I think it’s always best to be upfront.
“We run lots of montly campaigns and I’m healthy living champion so I play a big role in that. We know our patients so well that it is easier to broach sensitive subjects and deal with them on an individual basis,” she adds.
“It’s a real privilege to look after them all. We have so many people who come in for health checks and they have high blood pressure and they always say to me ‘oh my gosh you saved my life!’ and I say ‘no, you took the initiative to come in.’”
“Mary generally provides a more holistic approach in the pharmacy, so patients have more choice about their healthcare,” says pharmacist Sally Farmer who nominated her for the Health Equality Award. “She is an excellent healthy living advisor and a valued member of our team that genuinely cares about customers’ health.”
The judges were impressed with the way Mary includes the wider community in her health awareness campaigns. “Rural communities are often overlooked and have less opportunity to easily access services without significant travel and cost,” says Janice Perkins, chair of the RPS Community Pharmacy Expert Advisory Group. “Mary has used her local knowledge to identify the ongoing health needs of her local, rural community and has been able to implement a health check service to address this.”
Local coverage: Somerset Country Gazette